It was a year (plus a few days ago) that I got the news that Renaissance Press was interested in publishing The King in Darkness. It’s somewhat amazing that so much time has already passed. I’ve learned a great deal in those 365 days and I thought I’d write a little about that on the blog today.
I learned to appreciate professional editors a great deal. The manuscript had been read through by several friends whose opinions I value, went through a local writers’ circle, and of course I had been through it many, many times. I really expected the editors to find very little.
Then the first editor sent me 30 pages of notes. (Not, to be clear, notes on 30 pages, but a word document, 30 pages long, consisting of nothing but corrections and suggested changes.) I sat and looked at that for a while, and then got to work. I try not to give out very much advice here, since I’m quite a new author, but if anyone is reading this and thinking of getting their own work published, make sure you secure the services of a professional editor. You’ll get your money’s worth.
(I should point out that the next editor, and the next, also sent me substantial notes to work on.)
I really felt like that process was the beginning of becoming something roughly resembling a professional writer. It’s one thing to write down the strange ideas I have running around in my head and share them with friends and family; it’s quite another to try to make them into a product that might appeal to anybody. It wasn’t always easy – sometimes the best decision for the text meant changing something I like – but it was a great educational process.
I think I’ve learned a fair amount about social media – my Twitter following has increased substantially, I have a Facebook page and I’m getting to grips with Goodreads and Instagram, slowly – but one of the things I’ve learned is that I’m not entirely sure how much practical good it does. I enjoy interacting with people and I hope some of what I do is interesting or entertaining, but from a shamelessly mercenary perspective, I’m not sure how much of the time I invested in it turned into people reading my book who otherwise wouldn’t have. Maybe it made a big difference. Maybe it didn’t. I’m not sure how one tells. Fortunately, messing around on the internet is great fun so I’m likely to keep doing it anyway.
The most fun new thing from the past year has been getting to go to several conventions and interact with the public. This was something I had (again) really never done before and for a naturally shy person it took some adjustment. However, once I got used to it, I really enjoyed myself. I got to meet people with immense passion for SFF books, movies and TV and spend some time sharing those interests. I got to be a part of panel discussions that really made me feel like A Writer. The costumes were amazing.
All of this basically to say that the past year has been a tremendously fun ride. I’m already looking forward to what’s coming up in the months ahead. The big one, of course, should getting to share Bonhomme Sept-Heures with all of you. Renaissance has some exciting plans that I’m very excited to be a part of.
Thank you for your part in it all for reading the blog – I hope you’ll stick around a while yet.